Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Dallas Stars.
Last season marked yet another disappointment for the Stars. They finished last in the Pacific Division and missed out on the playoffs for the fifth straight season. Doing that while trying to bring fans back to American Airlines Center is rather counterproductive.
This season, they’ll have a lot of new things going for them. New uniforms, a new division, a new coach, and a new set of forwards including a potential star forward who ran into some troubles with his previous team. Is it all going to be enough to get Dallas back to the playoffs? That’s why they play the games.
Things were a bit busy in Dallas this summer.
Coach Glen Gulutzan was fired and Lindy Ruff now takes over behind the bench. GM Joe Nieuwendyk was ushered out of office and replaced by former Red Wings guru Jim Nill. Meanwhile, top forward Loui Eriksson was dealt to Boston in a blockbuster deal that netted them hotshot forward Tyler Seguin and steady veteran Rich Peverley.
Speaking of steady veterans, the Stars also traded for Edmonton center Shawn Horcoff and Ottawa defenseman Sergei Gonchar. Veteran goalie Dan Ellis was also brought on board to give Kari Lehtonen more consistent support.
The Stars went the veteran route the previous offseason adding Ray Whitney and Jaromir Jagr only to see that not exactly work out for the best. This time around they solved issues up the middle and added a real X-factor in Seguin. If his off-ice distractions were a real issue and they’re put aside, the Stars may have found the perfect young guy to team up with their own stud forward Jamie Benn.
After making so many moves, no matter what the Stars will be a team to watch. As they dig into the new Central Division, if things break right they very well may be back in the playoffs.
Introducing: PHT’s ‘Team of the Day’ summer series
What was just a report last night is now official.
The Dallas Stars have fired Joe Nieuwendyk as the team’s general manager after four years in the role. It’s believed Detroit Red Wings assistant GM Jim Nill will be hired to fill the position. Nieuwendyk’s contract with the Stars was set to expire after next season.
Nieuwendyk was hired in May of 2009 and while he’s made some shrewd moves during his tenure, he’ll likely be remembered by NHL fans as the guy who lost out on a pair of deals with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The trade that sent James Neal and Matt Niskanen to the Pens for Alex Goligoski now lives in infamy after Neal became a monster goal scorer alongside Evgeni Malkin while Niskanen emerged as one of their more consistent defenders. Goligoski has done well in Dallas, but the others’ performances turned the deal into a lopsided one.
Brenden Morrow’s performance in Pittsburgh this season is also not helping Nieuwendyk’s image as an executive while helping Pens GM Ray Shero look like a wizard.
Now it’ll likely be up to Nill to figure out how best to surround guys like Jamie Benn in Texas.
The next two days for the Dallas Stars could wind up being very busy.
General manager Joe Nieuwendyk has been trying to work out contract extensions for a few of his players. Jaromir Jagr, Derek Roy, and Eric Nystrom are guys he’s looking to keep in a Stars uniform.
As Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News reports, there hasn’t been any progress there and he may have to swing some deals to help the future of the franchise even in spite of the Stars being four points out of a playoff spot.
“These are very difficult decisions,” Nieuwendyk said Monday during the second intermission of the Stars’ 4-0 loss to Anaheim. “They’re never easy.”
With Dallas being losers of three of their last four and their next two games coming against Anaheim (yes, three in a row – scheduling quirk) a playoff spot could slip further away. The Stars haven’t made the playoffs since 2008 and making the postseason is clearly the goal to have. Is that worth possibly mortgaging the future and losing impending free agents for nothing? It’s a tough spot indeed for Nieuwendyk.